College Indoor Track: Hawks' Smith is an NJCAA champion

March 01, 2013

LUBBOCK, Texas — Hagerstown Communtiy College sophomore Grant Smith won a national title in the shot put on Friday at the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at Texas Tech University.

Smith — who has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in the shot put all season — threw the shot 56 feet, 10 3/4 inches to win the title by more than a foot. Coffeyville’s Deondra Canaday finished second in 55-10 1/4.

“I really didn’t know what to do. I was at a loss for words,” said Smith. “The coaches were congratulating me and I was in total shock. I set goals for myself and a national championship has been my goal for five years now, so I can mark that off my agenda.”

It’s the first national title for a Hawks track and field athlete at the indoor championships since 2000, when Clear Spring High School graduate Tim Mason won the 5,000-meter run.

Canaday’s best throw was his first throw as he took the early lead in the event.

“He kind of worried me when he threw that first throw. That came out of nowhere,” Smith said. “That was a huge PR for him and that put a little pressure on me off the bat.”

Smith’s throws kept improving throughout the competition, and finally on his fifth attempt he passed Canaday with the winning mark. It was his best throw of the season and set an HCC record.

“The one thing that made a difference from the first throw to when I won the meet was I tried to slow down at the back of the circle and get my feet and legs underneath me so I kept my balance,” Smith said.

“He didn’t put any pressure on himself, he just focused on what he had to do,” Hawks coach Nick Snyder said. “He just had to tweak a couple of things, and when he made his fifth throw, everyone knew that was the winning throw.

“Each throw was getting progressively better. If you averaged the six throws, he would have been head and shoulders above everyone else. There wasn’t a whole lot of doubt he’s the best thrower in the country.”

Smith said he’s already thinking about the outdoor season.

“As soon as we left the facility, my mind kind of got, ‘I’ve got to train for outdoors,’” he said. “I don’t know why, that’s how I am. Coach told me if I don’t take a week off when we get back, he’s going to kick my butt.”

Smith is a 2011 graduate of Brunswick High School. Combining his indoor and outdoor prep career, he won six Maryland Class 1A state titles overall in the shot put and discus. His best throw in the shot put in high school was more than 58 feet.

— Daniel Kauffman

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